In a new tell-all piece published Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, a former staffer for New York Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo, expanded on her previous allegations that Cuomo had sexually harassed her while she worked in his office.
According to Boylan, who first spoke out on Twitter last year about having experienced harassment and abuse at the hands of the governor, detailed her experiences in a piece published on Medium, saying Cuomo repeatedly targeted her with sexually suggestive comments, asked her to play strip poker while on a flight, and at one point alleges he even kissed her without her consent.
“Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected. His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right. He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences."
Boylan says the abuse began shortly after she started working at the state economic development agency, saying she’d been warned by her boss to “be careful around the governor.” Not long after, she met him herself.
“My boss soon informed me that the Governor had a ‘crush’ on me,” Boylan alleges. “It was an uncomfortable but all-too-familiar feeling: the struggle to be taken seriously by a powerful man who tied my worth to my body and my appearance.”
Boylan says Cuomo began comparing her appearance to one of his ex-girlfriends and even calling her by his former paramour’s name in public. She claims the governor “would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs. His senior staff began keeping tabs on my whereabouts,” prompting concern from her mother.
During a government holiday party, she claims Cuomo directed her to be brought to his office, where he gave her a private – an completely unsolicited – tour.
“As he showed me around, I tried to maintain my distance. He paused at one point and smirked as he showed off a cigar box. He told me that President Clinton had given it to him while he served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The two-decade old reference to President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was not lost on me,” she writes.
After accepting a position as Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and Special Advisor to the Governor, Boylan says she watched as Cuomo made “unflattering comments about the weight of female colleagues” and “ridiculed them about their romantic relationships and significant others.”
“He said the reasons that men get women were ‘money and power,’” she claims.
During a one-on-one briefing about an economic project, Boylan says Cuomo took his abuse to the next level.
“We were in his New York City office on Third Avenue. As I got up to leave and walk toward an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips. I was in shock, but I kept walking," she claims.
After finally deciding to speak up about the abuse, Boylan writes, “I was reprimanded and told to get in line by his top aides.”
She says she finally resigned in September of 2018.
“There is a part of me that will never forgive myself for being a victim for so long, for trying to ignore behavior that I knew was wrong. The Governor exploited my weaknesses, my desire to do good work and to be respected. I was made to believe this was the world I needed to survive in,” she writes.
After speaking out publicly about the abuse, Boylan says she’s been contacted by several other women who worked for the governor who say they experienced similar harassment from Cuomo, alleging that such behavior has been “normalized” in the office by upper-level administrators who punished anyone who complained.
After nearly a year of being hailed a conquering hero by the liberal media for his handling of the COVID pandemic, Cuomo has found himself neck-deep in multiple scandals, including allegations of sexual harassment. He's also at the center of an investigation over how his office allegedly helped cover up COVID death totals in the state's nursing homes after Cuomo ordered care facilities to admit infected patients who then spread the virus among the facilities' elderly residents.